Today we visited The Royal Geographical Society. Our tour was given by Eugene who has been the librarian for fifteen years. The society was founded in 1830 for scientific geography, which is exploration in its beginnings. The society has about 2 million items, maybe more. Those 2 million includes 1 million maps, ½ million photos, 250,000 books and bound periodicals, and 500 boxes of archived materials.
For our visit, we were given a Hot and Cold showcase. The showcase started with the Arctic explorations. The explorations started in 1818 of the Northwest Passage by John Ross. The expeditions went on into the 1840s with the last one started by Sir John Franklin who died during the expedition, but the crew kept going until their deaths.
Next on our showcase were the Antarctic explorations that started in 1901 started by Markham. The explorations ended in 1912 with Amundsen when he found the South Pole.
Next were the Mount Everest explorations in the 1920s. In 1924, George Mallory and Andrew Irving went on the exploration to the top of Mount Everest. However, they both went missing on the exploration. But they found George Mallory’s body in 1999. They identified his body by his shoe that is in the Royal Geographical Society’s collection. Unfortunately, they have not found Andrew Irving’s body which would help in figuring out if they ever made it to the top of Mount Everest because he had the camera.
Last on our showcase were the expeditions to find the source of the Nile in the 1850s. They sent Burton and Hanning Speke, but they had different opinions on where the source of the Nile was located. So the Royal Geographical Society sent Livingston to settle the difference. The society has Livingston’s compass that was used on the expedition.
After the showcase, we were able to look at all of the items that Eugene laid out for us. Some of the things we were able to view were Mallory’s shoe, Livingston’s compass, maps, photographs, clothing items, and more. I loved looking at all of the items and learning about the items and expeditions. Eugene did a wonderful job with connecting the items that he laid out to about what he was talking. Also, Eugene was very knowledgeable about the Royal Geographical Society in general and I could see it just from the way he talked.